The Apprentice: It was lucky Sophie didn’t get fired for ‘protecting’ her friends from Lord Sugar’s axe

The Apprentice: It was lucky Sophie didn’t get fired for 'protecting’ her friends from Lord Sugar’s axe

Winner of The Apprentice 2016, Alana Spencer, speaks about why its business over friendships in the show ‘ and why you should listen to your head rather than your heart 

In the task, Nick Showering and Sophie Wilding were the project managers. They split the teams which is always really good to see because, it’s nice to start seeing the boys working with the girls and that sort of dynamic change there. And also, we need to give the boys a chance after they’ve lost two challenges in a row. The task was to make a non-alcoholic drink. During my time at The Apprentice, we made an alcoholic drink so it brought back a lot of memories. That was the last task before the grand finale, and it was really tough. For them to have such a task this early is really challenging. Not to mention, we’re in a pandemic so they’re having to do things quite differently this year. I can only imagine that half of the world was closed while they were filming this season. 

The first thing they did was choosing team names, and they go with ‘Infinity’ and ‘Diverse’. Nick started out saying he wanted everyone’s ideas and then it quickly turns out that he absolutely didn’t want to listen to anyone’s ideas and just wanted to do what he had in mind. Nonetheless, I was incredibly impressed with the look of the product that they came up with. The brand and the name were very clever and the product itself could easily sit amongst other alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink; I feel like it could definitely sit in any area of a supermarket. Sophie was the project manager of the other team and she owns her own bar, so there’s a lot of experience on both sides with Nick also having prior experience in the drink industry. When Amy and her team were designing the label and the brand, I was having one of those ‘screaming at the telly moments’. When you look at the beer aisle or even the non-alcoholic beer section, the products are so vibrant and fun and cool and trendy. But they created something so old school looking and boring in my opinion, and I was just thinking, ‘what were they doing?’ Sophie, Steph and Navid then made their beer drink. 

Firstly, I was really jealous because it looked like a lot of fun and something that I would really have enjoyed doing. Funny enough, it was incredibly painful to watch Navid actually trying to get involved you could tell it was not his comfort zone and it was like watching paint dry while watching him trying actually create those concoctions. It was interesting to see them altogether to see who actually stood out. Out of the three of them, no one seemed to stand out as opposed to the other team who are making the drink. I was really impressed with Harpreet who led the drink making task well. They had a mission and a brief from Nick which was to create a vodka and lime soda drink, and they named it Vodify. The problem with The Apprentice is often you don’t get to talk to the other team and so if you do not follow the brief, you’re so likely to have a disconnect between brand and product. She was getting her team in line, and that was really impressive to see. 

Alex was part of the making the drink side and he too seemed to have quite a quite clear head, he knew what he was doing. Navid was later told he wasn’t allowed to do the pitch which was the right decision to make. However, it’s never nice watching someone be told that they shouldn’t do something. Sometimes you never know until you let someone try. But ultimately, if you win as a team no one gets fired. The team leader had to do what was best for the team. But then she went on to do the most robotic pitch I’ve ever seen; it was very unusual. I think she was trying to keep it very calm and relaxed but she was breaking her words up so much that it did sound a little bit robotic.

Nick started off really promising at the beginning of this episode especially after last week where I was wasn’t so sure on his abilities. He created such a good product but then it came to selling. I was really excited to see them selling this week, because its where you see who is going to be great at business. You can make a great product but if you can’t sell it, then there’s really no point in being in business. After Nick created such a good-looking product, it was a real shame to see his sales ability be so poor. I feel like in that situation he might be better off working for a company creating great products as opposed to having his own company. Akshay scored the majority of the sales in that team with just over £2000 pounds and sold 1500 bottles. We see that he can sell and that’s key, so him being in the boardroom just didn’t make sense. 

We go into the boardroom and we get to see the apps that they made again. Vodify was just miles above and I think it was completely obvious and clear which team going to win. Every element was better for Vodify. The taste of the drink wasn’t bad, the judges said it just didn’t have that vodka taste. Whereas for the other one, no one liked the taste and the branding on the app was not really very fun, so it was clear who was the winner.

After Amy had come up with the brand, which was fundamental in them losing the task, Sophie decided to bring in Navid and Akshay who scored the majority of the sales into the boardroom. The girls are all very close and friends in the competition, and they seemed to have made quite a nice bond which is all great but ultimately this is a competition. And when faced with a decision on who to bring back into the boardroom, you have to think with your head not your heart. I think she tried to protect her friends over making the right decision. It was lucky she didn’t get fired. But ultimately Navid was the right person to go. He didn’t really contribute in the show over the last three episodes, so it was time for him to leave. He’s a very sweet person so hopefully he’ll do well with whatever he goes on to do in the future.

Alana Spencer
Alana Spencer

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